ECONOMIC ROUGH WEATHER in his country, Nigeria, notwithstanding, Dangote Group is expanding business to other frontiers. The business giant has signed agreement with Togolese government to produce fertilizer from the country’s rich phosphate; and build cement factory in Togo.

Togo, a small country in West African region, said, Friday, the cost of the project is about $2 billion, without specifying Dangote’s part of the investment. Dangote also signed agreement to build cement factory at a cost of around $60 million.

The factory construction will commence first quarter of 2020. It will begin production by the end of the year, according to Togo’s government statement. The cement would serve the Togolese market, and export to neighbouring countries.

Vast phosphate resources in Togo are exported in raw form. Dangote’s project would process some of the phosphate into fertilizer for in-country consumption, and export to the region.

Industry watchers said the deal marks Dangote’s first push into Togo. Setting Dangote’s firm up for competition against Germany’s Heidelberg Cement, which operates three companies in Togo, including Fortia Cement.